Childcare Works HAF to deliver national support contract for DfE

In April 2021, DfE announced Childcare Works HAF would deliver the national support contract for the Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) programme across all councils in England.

Childcare Works is a partnership between Hempsall’s and Mott MacDonald and follows our successes in delivering the Achieving Two-Year-Olds (A2YO) national support contract (2012-2016). During which, we worked on the implementation of the free early learning entitlement for least advantaged two-year-olds. A project that saw take-up levels rise to nearly 70% of eligible children. And the Childcare Works 30 Hours Childcare programme (2016-2020) that introduced 30 hours of childcare for three- and four-year-olds of working parents.

We know from first-hand experience that school holiday activities have been wide ranging and delivered over decades. Recently it has been very interesting to see how the Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) Programme has emerged (since 2018), collected evidence and real-time learning and has developed to become this national £220m programme for 2021. It’s a mission we fully support. We want it to be a success for the long-term benefit of children and families especially those eligible for and in receipt of Free School Meals.

The 2018-2020 pilots gave us lots of learning and evaluation and we listen intently to the experiences of those involved in delivery since. We take the role of working with LAs and providers to identify how things are being planned and how they are progressing, identifying what gaps we can fill in terms of information, support and guidance, and challenge – where needed. We are particularly concerned with

  • Planning and coordination
  • Sufficiency, supply and demand mapping, and identifying risk and gaps
  • Reach and engagement of families, children, young people and partners
  • High quality activities and enriching experiences, food and nutritional learning
  • Legal compliance, meeting standards in H&S and safeguarding
  • Understanding and meeting the needs of disadvantaged children, inc. SEND
Our approach is to work alongside LAs and to help review and measure planning and delivery progress, to share and move information around, connect LAs together to work collaboratively towards solutions to shared problems (in cluster meetings, peer support, and online training sessions), celebrate when things are going well, and offer direct support where barriers arise - we do this in a universal way (available to all) and in a targeted way (where the need is greater). You can find out more on the programme’s knowledge hub https://khub.net/
Childcare Works